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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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THE IMPORTANCE OF READING YOUR BIBLE

The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge, but the mouths of fools feed on folly. (Proverbs 15:14 ESV) Bible Study

It is very sad that most people, including Christians, never read their Bibles on a consistent basis. George Gallop once said, “Americans revere the Bible – but, by and large, they don’t read it.” I am also afraid that, of those who do read their Bibles, very few study it with the intention of becoming more like Christ. Should we not seek to grow in the knowledge of God?

Consider this: In a country where the Bible, Christian literature, and the publication of Biblical study-helps abound, we are becoming a nation of Bible illiterates. Can you name the four Gospels? Can you name six of the 12 disciples? Can you name five of the Ten Commandments? I really do not believe you have to be a Bible trivia expert to grow as a Christian, but I do believe that Bible illiteracy is fast becoming the norm in America. Perhaps, you too have heard people repeating verses or condemning something in the Bible which, in reality, are not even in the Scriptures. How many times have you heard someone say, “The Lord helps those who help themselves,” believing it to be a Bible verse? In Hosea, this accusation is made against Israel: “Hear the word of the LORD, O children of Israel, for the LORD has a controversy with the inhabitants of the land. There is no faithfulness or steadfast love, and no knowledge of God in the land …” (Hosea 4:1-2 ESV) “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.” (Hosea 4:6 ESV) J. I. Packer writes, “Disregard the study of God, and you sentence yourself to stumble and blunder through life blindfolded, as it were, with no sense of direction and no understanding of what surrounds you. This way you can waste your life and lose your soul.” (Knowing God)

It is because so many do not read and study their Bibles that wolves (false teachers) are allowed to enter the pulpits and preach a corrupted gospel to the sheep. They appeal to man’s greed, craving for self-indulgence, and wish for selfish accumulation. Does God want you to be rich, perfectly healthy, and live a stress-free life? Are you missing out on these blessings because you do not have enough faith? Instead of reading their Bibles, people read “so-called” Christian books with titles such as: Destined to Reign: The Secret to Effortless Success; Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential; Deliver Me From Negative Self Talk: A Guide To Speaking Faith-filled Words; Your Words Hold a Miracle: The Power of Speaking God’s Word; and Winning in Troubled Times: God’s Solutions for Victory Over Life’s Toughest Challenges. These books basically teach that you can manipulate and use God for your own ends. Such ideas are totally foreign to the Scriptures and, actually, oppose the great doctrines of the Bible. We have become fools feeding on our folly. Jesus said, “Is this not the reason you are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God? (Mark 12:24 ESV)

Entire churches are led astray by false teachers because Bible reading and study are not encouraged. When this becomes standard practice, there is no one to declare that a teaching is false. Do you think that reading the Bible is too hard for you or you do not understand what you read? Then follow the advice of Robert Murray M’Cheyne, “When you are reading a book in a dark room, and come to a difficult part, you take it to a window to get more light. So take your Bibles to Christ.” When you are reading any Christian book, take it to the light of the Bible or talk to your pastor about it.

If we are to counteract these discouraging trends, Christians must begin reading and studying their Bibles as well as reading classic Christian literature. We must bring this time of cultural Bible illiteracy to an end. Do not tell me you are a Christian – but you do not like reading the Bible or you do not love hearing the Word of God. This will not do here and certainly not in Heaven. When you read the Bible, is your experience like that of Jonathan Edwards? “I had then, and at other times, the greatest delight in the Holy Scriptures, of any book whatsoever. Oftentimes in reading it, every word seemed to touch my heart. I felt a harmony between something in my heart, and those sweet powerful words. I seemed often to see so much light, exhibited by every sentence, and such a refreshing ravishing food communicated, that I could not get along in reading. Used oftentimes to dwell long on one sentence, to see the wonders contained in it; and yet almost every sentence seemed to be full of wonders.” (Jonathan Edwards, quoted in Jonathan Edwards and the Bible by Robert E. Brown)

I fear Edwards’ experience is quite rare. I also think that, “We fail in our duty to study God’s Word not so much because it is difficult to understand, not so much because it is dull and boring, but because it is work. Our problem is not a lack of intelligence or a lack of passion. Our problem is that we are lazy.” (R.C. Sproul) Let us pray that God will give us the determination and strength to do this work.

Samuel at Gilgal

 

2 Responses

  1. How can you know me unless you …it’s the story of love, unless you understand the ways of God how can you grow in love, amen, great post

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